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How to Create a Workout Plan for Older Adults

Want to create an effective fitness program for seniors? Read on for tips on how to create a workout plan that targets your older clients' needs.

It's important for middle-aged folks and seniors to stay in shape. Personal trainers play a huge role in helping them do just that!

Our expertise means we know how to create a workout plan that improves the fitness of older people -- without overextending or harming them.

If you're a personal trainer, avoiding these injuries is more than just a good idea. It's a way to avoid a lawsuit or PR disaster.

No personal trainers want to hurt their clients. Here's our guide to making sure you make a helpful workout plan for the older adults you work with.

Things To Consider

When creating a workout plan for older adults, you need to consider the four elements of a senior citizen's workout.

Those elements are:

  • cardio,
  • strength
  • balance
  • flexibility

In general, these elements are a part of every workout. But when it comes to senior citizens, you need to plan them more carefully.

That's because senior citizens are more prone to the pitfalls of exercise than other members of the population. Plus, risks of overexertion can manifest themselves as anything from broken bones to a stroke.

That doesn't mean people shouldn't create exercise plans for seniors. It just means people need to know how to create a workout plan tailored to the needs of the senior body.

So here's our advice on getting the four essential components into that workout plan.


Cardiovascular exercise is at the core of any workout plan. For senior citizens, it's particularly important to do this right. Heart disease is one of the two leading causes of death among seniors.

Luckily, cardiovascular exercise can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease.

At the same time, a senior citizen is more likely to experience a heart attack while engaging in cardio exercise. So don't overexert your clients. Sometimes, this just means using common sense. It's probably not the best idea to have an 82-year-old doing sprint training, for instance.

As with anything, you should tailor your workout to the needs of senior citizens. We suggest starting with alternating between jogging and walking for older clients.

If somebody's fitness level demonstrates that they can handle more intense cardio, then the intensity should be increased. However, make sure you increase it in a smart way.


Strength training can help keep the bones and muscles of senior citizens healthy. For that reason, it's a big part of how to create a workout plan for seniors.

It's best to start with bodyweight exercises for senior citizens and give them the support they may need to do the exercise properly.

The Right Moves

A power squat is a supported body exercise that can be really helpful for senior citizens. It improves their leg strength without bringing with it the same risk of injury as weighted squats.

If you do decide to use a weighted exercise with senior citizens, you should have them do something relatively simple. Personal trainers all know the risks of bad form. Plus, those risks are even stronger for senior citizens.

Cable exercises are a great beginning point. Consider these weighted exercises with training wheels. Although they are safer than free weight exercises, any weight lifting needs to be met with assistance from a personal trainer.


Balance is an important element of staying alive for older adults. Senior citizens are regularly injured and even killed by falling.

Senior citizens are often in the process of losing their balance. That means you need to devote more time to balance exercises in a plan for senior citizens than you do for younger clients.

When you do balance exercises with senior citizens, make sure you pay extra attention to spotting your clients.

While balance exercises are a big part of how to create a workout plan for older Americans, they can also be a bit risky. While they won't cause a major stroke or heart attack, falling down can cause a broken bone or another serious injury.

To prevent this, make sure you take your responsibilities as a personal trainer seriously when working with older Americans.


Senior citizens lose flexibility due to age. Factors leading to this range from stress and fitness to the natural thickening of tissue that happens over decades of being alive.

Flexibility exercises are important for senior citizens for two reasons. The first? Their day-to-day comfort. Oftentimes, senior citizens are in discomfort because of their inability to move properly. 

Improving the flexibility of senior citizens can help them avoid the day-to-day discomforts that so many of us associate with aging.

The other reason is doing stretches while exercising. Everybody needs to stretch before they work out, as anybody who's ever woken up with their back on fire will tell you.

However, senior citizens need to stretch even more than most people. That's because the body of a senior citizen can handle less stress than the body of a young adult -- or even the body of a middle aged person.

Incorporating at least ten minutes of stretching per hour is an important element of how to create a workout for senior citizens.

Why Stretching Matters

Whether you're stretching out your wrists or your legs, one of the most important parts of stretching is breathing. Make sure you pay close attention to the breathing of your clients, as they will probably find stretching continuously more difficult than most clients.

Exercise is incredibly important, and making sure clients of all ages are stretching is a way to avoid time on the couch due to soreness.

Don't just emphasize stretching during the workouts you do with your older clients. When you have them work out on their own, make sure they don't forget to stretch.

How To Create a Workout Plan Senior Citizens Will Buy

After you've made a workout plan for senior citizens, you also need to be able to sell it for them.

It may seem hard to market to senior citizens. However, if you use the right tactics, including a combination of offline and online advertising, you should be able to nail that sale in no time.

Online Marketing

You may assume that the internet doesn't play a role in selling your workout plan. However, you're dead wrong.

Senior citizens may be senior citizens, but they're senior citizens in 2017. That means they're just as adjusted to the technology of today as most young people.

In fact, over two-thirds of American senior citizens say they go online today. If you really think about it, that makes sense.

Regardless of your age, you want to make your life more convenient.

Just like you use the internet and search engines to figure out how to create a workout plan for senior citizens, they use the internet and search engines to figure out how to find one.

So you should definitely market your personal training services online. You should also especially market it using services that senior citizens are likely to use.

One of those services is Facebook: 27 percent of adults aged 65 and over are on Facebook and other social networks. And if you have a workout plan geared specifically toward senior citizens, you can market it specifically to senior citizens.

Send out a Facebook ad targeted toward adults in your area aged 65-and-older. It would also help to write the ad copy specifically for senior citizens.

One way to do this is outright saying you offer services for seniors. This is good because it shows that you know how to create a workout plan for seniors.

Another way to do it is through references. If you're marketing to people aged 65-and-older, get on their level. That means throwing in pop culture references from the 1950s through the 1970s.

If you're a local business, you also need to focus on SEO. Using services like Google My Business will be incredibly helpful to you as you look for customers near you.

Offline Marketing

Since you know how to create a workout plan, the next step is making sure your customers know you know how to create a workout plan.

Reaching people offline is an important component of any personal trainer's business.

If you want to do it properly, you need to know where your audience is looking. Many senior citizens are looking for your services online.

But that doesn't mean all of them are.

But that doesn't mean you should just put up flyers in random places. If you're advertising at a bar popular with 22-year-olds, for instance, you probably won't get a lot of senior citizens as clients.

One thing senior citizens tend to support is local newspapers, particularly in small towns.

From this perspective, you can advertise to senior citizens while supporting the newspaper in your community.

Seniors also may have particular diners or restaurants that they frequent in town. If you live in a small town, you probably know exactly where the popular "old person" restaurant is.

Many of these restaurants allow you to post business cards in the front or advertise on their placemats. If that's the case in your town, you should put advertisements for your services there.

When you make these ads, make sure you emphasize that you know how to create a workout plan for older people.

Put Yourself Out There

The most important thing you can do with offline advertising is getting your name out there. In that respect, let every client you work with help spread the message about your training.

This may not be the easiest or the quickest method, but it's almost always the most successful.

Many people forget that you can't fake competence forever. The best way to get older adults to work out with you is letting them know you know how to create a workout plan for older adults.

The best way to do that is work with older adults and help them reach their fitness goals.

Why What You Do Matters

It may not be easy to make an exercise plan for senior citizens. But it is necessary and important.

If you know how to create a workout plan for senior citizens, you aren't just helping them get in shape. You're extending their life through the power of exercise.

That means you're letting the families and friends of your clients spend more time with their loved ones. So this is important work.

As you can see from our section on marketing, it is really important to market your workout plans properly. That's because knowing how to create a workout plan doesn't mean you know how to sell it.

You also need to know how to manage your clients. This is true when you're working with people of any age, including senior citizens.

How We Can Help

Managing your clients means being able to work with them even when they aren't there. If you have senior citizens with access to technology, one of the best ways to do that is on Xerofit.

Xerofit is a platform to help you manage your clients online. Whether you're going away for a week and want to keep them on track or you just want to have them working out on days they aren't visiting you, every personal trainer and client should be using this.

Xerofit offers three services. The first is an individual profile page. Having a Xerofit profile will make it easier for you to market your services as a personal trainer.

This is a big deal for anybody who's looking to give that little extra boost to their online presence.

The other service offered is a video workout library. If you're instructing a client to do a new exercise (as anybody who knows how to create a workout plan often finds themselves doing,) this is a way to get them started on it and let them do it alone risk-free.

The final service is a workout plan creation tool. You may know how to create a workout plan in excel, but using our service makes it far easier to create a plan that works.

One you learn how to create a workout plan in our service (which isn't hard,) you'll never want to go back.

Skeptical? We'd love to prove you wrong. Try our service for free.